Cork's baby-faced assassin puts Clare on playoff collision course with Mayo
CLARE 1-18 CORK 0-22
"We're dogs," declared Cathail O'Mahony. "Dogs that fight in a pack. So we just kept our pack going and we kept our county going."
Anyone that watched O'Mahony deliver those rousing words, back in August 2019, would have marked his card. This guy was one to watch.
The Mitchelstown forward spoke passionately to TG4, just under two years ago, after inspiring Cork's U2os to an All-Ireland Final triumph over a highly fancied Dublin side.
Just weeks before, he was doing this against a stacked Kerry side as Cork put them to the sword, winning by 13 points to set up that tilt against the Dubs:
The Cork lads kicking scores from ridiculous angles and ridiculous distances
Full forward Cathal O'Mahony really shouldn't be shooting from herepic.twitter.com/uw7ko6NFJC
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 18, 2019
O'Mahony was back on TG4 today, lining out for the senior inter-county side as Clare put up a tough scrap in their Allianz League clash at Cusack Park.
He scored 0-6 (five from frees) in the four point loss to Kildare, last weekend, but had to spin his wheels in the opening stages.
Ronan McCarthy named him on the bench for this afternoon's game but the number came up for No.25 after only 22 minutes. Cork were three points down to the Bannermen and Ciaran Sheehan was coming off. They needed a spark, and the young Rebel stepped up.
In the space of four minutes, after he entered the fray, O'Mahony showed up in pockets of space between the 20- and 45-metre lines. Three bites of the cherry, three curling darts off the right book, three points.
With John O'Rourke pointing from play, in between, Cork went from three down to one clear in no time.
Clare are made of stern stuff, however, and they never allowed Cork out of their sights, even with Luke Connolly pinging over placed balls.
The lead chanced hands at several stages in the second half and a steepling effort from Darragh O'Bohannan levelled matters at 1-15 to 0-18 with 10 minutes to go.
O'Mahony popped up again, though, at a crucial stage. Less than 30 seconds after Brian Hurley put Cork in front again, O'Mahony popped up to curl over from 30 metres out as Cork gobbled up a loose kick-out.
Hurley was sent off for picking up his second yellow card, on 64 minutes, and Clare came back again. O'Mahony was not out of the picture for long, though.
Standing over his first free of the afternoon, he cooly slotted over and the Cork lead was back to two points.
Aaron Griffin looked to have snatched a draw for the Banner, but John O'Rouke kept his nerve to win it for Cork.
With Mayo seeing off Meath in a high-scoring match and Kildare thrashing Laois, it set up some tantalising Division 2 playoff matches:
- Mayo v Clare
- Meath v Kildare
Cork miss out on the playoffs thanks to an inferior points difference, but Ronan McCarthy will be pleased with how his side finished out their campaign.
Our Man of the Match: Cathail O'Mahony (Cork)